Photograph of Jeanine Stepanski (left) and Daniel Stepanski (right).
Source: Shoah Memorial, Paris.
Daniel Stepanski’s childhood
Daniel Stepanski was born on January 7, 1937 in the 17th district of Paris. He lived at 60 rue de la Faisanderie in the 16th district of Paris. He had an older sister called Jeanine.
July 1944: Arrest and internment
On July 14, 1944, Gestapo officers arrested Daniel at his home in Paris. The Gestapo, the political police of the Third Reich, played a key role in the extermination of the Jews. He was arrested on the grounds that he was Jewish and at the time he was described as a “schoolboy”.
Daniel was interned in Drancy camp on July 19, 1944. Drancy was an internment and transit camp north of Paris. Living conditions in the camp were tough, due to lack of sanitary facilities, disease and poor nutrition. The internees, who were guarded by the French police, had their identity documents confiscated.
July – August 1944: Deportation and death
Daniel was deported to Auschwitz on July 31, 1944 on Convoy 77. He was deported due to his “race”, because he was Jewish. He was assigned prisoner number 35,903. Auschwitz was a concentration camp and killing center in Nazi-occupied Poland. It can be seen on this map:
Daniel was arrested simply because he was Jewish. The Nazi ideology was to uphold the Aryan race, and Jews were seen as a threat to the “purity” of the German people. During the Occupation, France collaborated and helped the Germans to arrest Jews and deport them. Daniel was one of the ” non-returnees “. Given that he was so young, he was almost certainly murdered as soon as he arrived at the Auschwitz killing center. His official date of death is August 5, 1944.
After the war, Daniel’s family’s research into what happened to him
In the 1960s, Rachel Franz, Daniel’s maternal grandmother, requested that Daniel be recognized as having been a “political deportee”. Here is the application form that she completed:
Rachel Franz submitted a number of witness statements, which are included in the file on Daniel. Elise Hafliger gave an account of the arrest, in which she said that Daniel was arrested at his home. According to the investigation carried out by the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War, he never came back to France. Fernand Mayeur and Louis Paul Bertin provided a further statement in 1961, confirming that Daniel Stepanski had died in the Auschwitz camp.
On October 24, 1947, the Seine civil court issued a ruling declaring Daniel Stepanski officially dead. The Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War awarded him the title of “political deportee” on October 12, 1962. A deported person’s card, number 75-15195, was issued in his name.
His grandmother, Rachel Frantz, received 120 francs in compensation. This was paid to the surviving relatives of political deportees or internees who had died while in detention.
We put together the Stepanski family tree:
Read the biography of Rebecca STEPANSKI, Daniel’s mother.
- Source: Defense Historical Service, AC 21 P 540 930, Dossier on Daniel Stepanski.